Nuggets’ return to court put off as competition suspended nationally

The Otago Nuggets planned return to the court has been delayed.

Yesterday the franchise was holding on tight to some slim hope its games against the Southland Sharks at the Edgar Centre later this month could go ahead.

And however unlikely, the team was still hoping to participated the National Basketball League’s (NBL) preseason tournament planned for Nelson in early April.

The games would have represented the Nuggets’ first outings since they pulled out of the national league at the end of the 2014 campaign.

But the comeback has been stymied as sporting events across the country are called off in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last night, Basketball New Zealand altered its stance and directed its 36 associations to suspend all community basketball until further notice.

And yesterday morning the NBL postponed its competition.

The NBL is considering the feasibility of a modified competition that could start in either late May or June.

‘‘The decision has been made with the health and wellbeing of players, team officials, staff and the wider community as the league’s primary focus, along with the health and sustainability of all teams going forward,’’ general manager Justin Nelson said in a statement.

‘‘We have a couple of hundred people, including our players, who derive an income through participating or working in the NBL, this is their occupation and we are very mindful of that,’’

‘‘We are dealing with an unprecedented moment in our lives and while it comes with a level of uncertainty, the NBL Men’s Board is working diligently to ensure the health and sustainability of the teams, the integrity of the competition and the well-being of players, coaches and employees is at the forefront of every decision.’’

The preseason tournament has been cancelled, and a decision on the 3x3 National Cup,k scheduled for late May at Stadium Southland, will be made at a later date.

The Women’s National Basketball League has also been postponed.

The season was originally scheduled to start on April 29 but a modified competition that could start in May, or later, is being considered.


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